The article first ran in The Cape Times on 15 February 2019
Annual street art event
Each February since 2017, Salt River undergoes a hue revolution as street artists from South Africa and the World gather under the auspices of the International Public Art Festival (IPAF) to inject a fresh wave of colour into one of the oldest and most culturally diverse suburbs in the Mother City.
Launched three years ago, the IPAF is the brainchild of South African graffiti artist Mak1One and entrepreneurs Alexandre Tilmans (of Leopold7 craft beer fame) and Sébastien Charrieras, joint founders of the NGO known as BAZ-ART. Their mission was to find a way to showcase outstanding South African and International street artists, both emerging and established, whose stellar works mostly exist outside formal gallery spaces. The festival serves as a creative connector to engage with communities and local businesses while empowering street artists to become change agents.
History of street art
Street art (image based) and graffiti (word based) has a history of being influenced by the political and social issues of the day and is known as a form of anonymous protest and subversive commentary. Until the rise of Banksy, it was a largely misunderstood and under-appreciated art form, but is now recognised and celebrated as an integral part of modern inner city culture. The likes of Cornbread, Blu, (whose astounding work I first saw in Lisbon a few years ago), Os Gemeos and South Africa’s Justin Nomad and Faith47 are celebrated internationally for their brilliant edifications and have set the industry benchmark in terms of skill, standards and protocols.
Twenty artists involved in #IPAF201
Twenty artists have been involved in #IPAF2019, painting, spraying, rolling and stencilling grand scale murals, graffiti and other variations of their craft on a myriad different facades, and residents are delighted. Abubakr Jamal lives on Pope Street where a new IPAF mural is being painted by Brazilian muralist Aleksandro Reis. Jamal looks forward to the IPAF each year and says his eight year old daughter Isra can’t wait to see Reis’s completed art work opposite her home. Warda Rahim, Chairperson of the Salt River Residents Association added, “The IPAF team could go anywhere with this project but they choose Salt River each year– we are overwhelmed by the transformation of our area and grateful too because because IPAF collaborates with us, builds relationships and gives back to our communities.”
The IPAF runs until 17 February (overlapping with the Investec Cape Town Art Fair) and features artists from Spain, France, Mexico and the United States alongside wave-makers from South Africa. A walkabout will reveal illuminating pieces by Aida Gomez [SPAIN], Zola [SA], Dbongz [SA] ,Wa-One [UKRAINE], Said Dokins [MEXICO] , Skubalisto [SA] , Urban Khoi [SA] Kipermillsap [USA], Mernette Swarts [SA], Aleksandro Reis [BRASIL], Dekor [SA], Maye [FRANCE], Tim Marsh [FRANCE], Ryan Allan [SA], Shinji [SA], Jono Hornby [SA] and Seth Pimenthel [SA]. This years theme, incorporated into each art work, is Generation Next: Educate, Collaborate, Empower.
In his brief speech yesterday to guests gathered at Beth Uriel, the IPAF HQ for the fest and the starting point for BAZ-ART’s street art tours with accredited guides, Mayco Member Zahid Badroodien said, “the International Public art Festival is making street art more accessible, telling visual stories, educating us and stimulating conversation. It extends the City’s artistic footprint and creates spaces in which our communities are proud to live.”
For more info about the festival and to book street art tours and art workshops, visit www.ipafest.co.za. Before the tour, have a coffee at Me’Kasi Kafe, a coffee shop based in a repurposed shipping container, and browse their small store alongside for cool hoodies and T’s as well as up-cycled goods made from recycled spray cans. All proceeds go towards the good work done at Beth Uriel.
For more on my other street art encounters, check out other posts on my blog.
Until next time,